February 3rd, 2010
08:03 PM ET
4 years ago

Top Perry aide used 'R' word, Hutchison campaign alleges

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is running for a third term but faces two Republican opponents.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is running for a third term but faces two Republican opponents.

Washington (CNN) – Sarah Palin caused a stir this week when she demanded that President Obama fire his Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for using the word "retarded" to describe Democrats opposed to the administration's health care plans.

Now that Palin is headed to Texas to campaign for Gov. Rick Perry in his re-election bid, the campaign manager for Perry's rival Kay Bailey Hutchison is alleging that a top Perry aide used the very same term during a recent conference call.

Terry Sullivan, Hutchison's campaign manager, told CNN that Perry consultant Dave Carney dropped the "R" word repeatedly during a recent planning call between the three gubernatorial campaigns to walk through logistics for their Jan. 14 debate in Denton. The third candidate in the Republican primary is former Wharton County GOP chairwoman Debra Medina.

According to Sullivan, Carney became "bombastic and agitated" when he learned that one of the candidate holding rooms would be in a separate building from the debate venue. (Perry's team eventually got the holding room they wanted.)

"That's just retarded," Carney said when he learned about the holding room location, according to Sullivan. "That's the most retarded thing I've ever heard."

Sullivan said Carney used the word once again minutes later as the camps discussed how the debate footage would be used after the forum.

A spokesman for Perry did not respond to a request for comment on the call, nor did an aide to Palin, who is heading to Texas on Sunday to appear with the governor.

The executive producer of the debate, Rick Thompson of public television station KERA, would not comment on the conference call, telling CNN that "all pre-debate discussions and negotiations are confidential."

Sullivan said he was not under the impression that the call was confidential.

Palin, whose youngest son Trig has Down Syndrome, wrote on her Facebook page Monday that the word "retarded" is "a slur on all God's children with cognitive and developmental disabilities." She said Emanuel's use of the term, first reported in a Wall Street Journal article, was "unacceptable" and "heartbreaking."


Filed under: 2010 • Kay Bailey Hutchison • Popular Posts • Rick Perry • Sarah Palin • Texas
soundoff (252 Responses)
  1. OJ

    Give me a break... The "R" word??? Lets grow up people. Retarded is a word in common usage. It is not "un-politically correct". All it is, is one more thing for people to sling mud on each other for. How about we all cut the crap and actually do something productive with our time? I'm sick and tired of politicians bickering over nonsense that at the end of the day, doesn't really matter. I am more concerned about getting legitimate legislation through Congress. But maybe I'm just old fashioned...

    February 3, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  2. Derek Trygstad

    "Retarded" is not a curse word. I dont see why this is even news. We have actual problems in this country, we should focus on those instead of feigning moral outrage whenever a politician says something stupid. Rick Perry is an idiot because he suggested Texas could secede from the Union again, not because one of his aides said the word retarded.

    February 3, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  3. Ridgeway

    This is absurd. I mean factually challenged. There's no end to the ignorance, I mean educationally challenged, stuff that goes on. The Country is in economic turmoil fighting a war and this is what matters? It's just retarded.

    February 3, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  4. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Oh Oh. The queen of all hypocrites cannot support Perry the secessionist now. But that would mean she has values, so Perry still has her watchin' his back.

    February 3, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  5. Rick

    It's ok for a Republican to use the word since they own it. If you look the word up it says a republican who votes no to change.

    February 3, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  6. Jim Q.

    Main Entry: re·tard·ed
    Pronunciation: \ri-ˈtär-dəd\
    Function: adjective
    Date: 1895
    sometimes offensive : slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress

    ... "sometimes offensive" is not worth throwing a huge fit over.

    And I'll refrain from saying which of the people mentioned in this article is the most "slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress."

    February 3, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  7. David Ottson

    ok. Palin. Now get all bent out of shape with this guy too. Oh you understand this guy really didn't mean it... your such a phony !

    February 3, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  8. Willa-PA

    The pot calling the kettle black? Such hypocrites. Aren't there any more important issues to argue about. No?

    February 3, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  9. Michael from Ventura

    So how 'bout it Sara? You still PC? I bet NOT.

    February 3, 2010 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  10. chris24

    what a windbag.

    talk about the economy or the 2 wars.

    come up with an original idea, sarah palin.

    if you are the republicans great hope, say something.

    you, i'm afraid, are just another ego freak, hanging on
    to your fifteen minutes.

    February 3, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  11. jules sand-perkins

    "The world is too much" PC.
    Especially for this part of the world, where the freedom to speak is a treasured right.
    Hopefully, each of us will have the decency not to offend others with nasty names and insensitivity, but hey–it happens.
    We do not need laws telling us what we can or cannot say.

    February 3, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  12. John Dorgan

    Hello!!! Jobs, Health care, AIG giving huge bonuses to failure exec.'s, fuel prices rising, college costs booming, etc.
    Stick to real issues. This is why everyone is angry!

    February 3, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  13. Michele

    It is interesting that Palin and all can get so upset over "retarded" which IS used to mean various things, and yet it doesn't bother them at all to call Obama, the PRESIDENT, everything from Mao to Hitler and back again, that their little rallies include loaded weapons and signs threatening the life of the President, and even the "n" word, which is far more odious than 'retarded.' Wonder how she'll handle this latest gaff by her beloved Perry's staff. Betcha it depends on how much they are paying her to read her canned lecture.

    February 3, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  14. martine

    Why don't we get rid of the word stupid.Plenty of stupid people. This is getting rediculous. People are using this to score poltical points.

    February 3, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  15. Eric

    I'm betting that someone in the next few days will come out with audio of Sarah Palin using the r-word in a derogatory manner. I wonder who it'll be?

    February 3, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  16. M Dukakis Williams

    Enough RINO senators defending the NObama administration. Hutchinson will be defeated. Rick Perry for President 2012!

    February 3, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  17. james

    Lets see how the bigoted GOP goes with this! They are they first to throw mud, however when its one of their own they will come with with a million excuses!

    February 3, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  18. Dean

    Wondering who of our "public servants" is not retarded????

    February 3, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  19. Ian

    The fact that people make a big stink about using the word "retarded" is just that. Yes it is slang, and yes people can use it in a derogatory manner, but are we really so sensitive that the use of any colorful language has to turn into such a debacle? Seems pretty "r-word" to me!

    February 3, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  20. kebo72

    Instead of the word retard, can't we just call challenged persons Palined?

    February 3, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  21. JimmyfromNY

    How retarded is this?

    "Retarded" does not always refer to handicapped human beings, Sarah.

    February 3, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  22. Jay

    Wow! Well Sister Sarah, you have a choice, and the American people are watching. Will you: 1) hold your ground on this issue, that you so passionately preached about and decried the use of by an Obama advisor to the point of demanding a resignation, with a fellow Republican candidate and demand HIS advisor resign for the same (but even more repeated) transgression, or; 2) will you wilt like the half-baked, quiter you seem to be and all of sudden find that the issue isn't so important after all and be silent? Oh, and by the way, don't forget to trot out those children of yours one mmore time - you know, the ones you keep saying should be off limits in political discussions. We're watching Sarah! WE'RE ALL WATCHING!

    February 3, 2010 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  23. Teresa L

    Rush Limbaugh uses that term all of the time too,will she call for him to be fired?

    February 3, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  24. eddie

    Well, he's not a Democrat, so he's safe from Palin's ire.

    February 3, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  25. El Kababa

    OK, retarded is now taboo, I guess. Let's go with

    Stupid: tediously dull, esp. due to lack of meaning or sense; inane; pointless: a stupid party.

    Lackwit: Lacking in perceptivity

    Numbskull: A person whose skull is thought to be impenetrable and who cannot understand a reasonable argument

    dolt: a dull, stupid person; blockhead.

    Examples: "Sarah Palin may be a numbskull, but Rick Perry is a dolt. The fact that these two lackwits are in leadership roles strikes me as incredibly stupid."

    February 3, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
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